Recorded at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California, in 1981 and at The Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California, in 1982.
Ladies and gentlemen, live on the Sunset Strip, Richard Pryor!
We are gathered here today… to make sure… everyone eats. If not each other… food. I was gonna talk about something that’s very serious… and I hope no one gets offended. I wanna talk about fucking. And sometimes I talk about it. And a lot of people in the audience… don’t know what I mean. So would you raise your hand it you don’t know what fucking is… so we can watch your ass when you leave here? Because not enough fuckin’… goin’ on in America. Americans. Reagan get in, you stop fuckin’. We fucked when Carter was in. We fucked all the time. There wasn’t nothin’ else to do. “Hey. Let’s fuck.” President makin’ a speech. “Let’s fuck.” Reagan in. Now. Everybody listen to this motherfucker. “We can’t fuck now.” I say get them last few fucks in now. See. I know one of the advantages. When you’re in show business, the little extra treat you get… is that you get pussy. And, you know… the great pussy drought of the ’50s? I was caught up in that motherfucker. I’m talkin’ about… I discovered masturbating by accident. I’m not lying. I was about ten. I was in the tub. And that’s when you used to have to hold your dick with two fingers. You remember when you was little like that? Right? I was in the tub. I said. “Hey. I’m on to something here. I bet Dad don’t know about this.” And then when you was young, remember. Men… We didn’t come or nothin’. You just made that tunny feelin’. You know. You… First time I came, ejaculated. Scared the fuck out of me. Man. I thought somethin’ was wrong. Right? I was with this woman. I said. “Look what the fuck you done did!” About an hour later though. I was back goin’. “Can you do it again?” Women are so cool about sex. They like it as much as we do. But they can be cooler. You say, “Do you wanna fuck?” “No.” And they go home and have all that electrical equipment. I can’t get off behind that long shit. Nothin’. I remember one time I got some Playboy bunny pussy. I thought I was in the big time. Goin’ home with a Playboy bunny! You dig? We was gonna have a nice little midnight snack. I went to her apartment. Her apartment was bad! It was one of those apartments that if I don’t get the pussy… I can fuck this couch. We started talkin’. She had seen my act. She said, “I really like the way you do those little kids in your act. Them’s great. Can you talk like a little kid?” I said. “What? Now?” “Yeah. Just do a little.” “I feel funny. I mean… okay. You mean. Like, when I do this? Like that?” She said, “Yeah.” I say. “You like that. Huh?” And she started taking off clothes. And the more clothes she took off. The younger I got. When she got to her panties. I was on the floor talking about… She gave birth to me about 9:30.
Can I get some water? There was supposed to be a stool and some water. Is it April Fools’? Oh. This is the one. I have to walk way the fuck over there to get some water. Thank you. Brother. Don’t trip. You’re nervouser than me. Shit. Thank you. I wish I had had a pitcher of that shit. Thank you. – What’s in it? – Huh? Water. As far as I know. I hope I don’t start tripping. Did that… Was that here all the time? That motherfucker been there all the time? Wait a minute. We don’t know nothin’… but the photographic memory. This motherfucker was not here. See. We may not be literate. But we visual than a motherfucker. Just needed a little water… to relax… calm down. ‘Cause I feel the tension from you all. You all want me to do so well. I want to do so well for you. But let’s relax and enjoy… whatever the fuck happens. ‘Cause I got my check. I’m gonna tell you something. I got so fuckin’ nervous… myself. Today. I forgot what the fuck I did. I was at home. I said, “I know I do somethin’… ’cause there’s too many white folks paying attention to me… for me not to be in jail and shit.” I used to think when I first started. I said… “Maybe I ain’t funny no more. You know. Maybe I ain’t angry at nothin’ tor real in my heart, you know.” I’d just say. “I’m just not mad about it. I don’t get it. Motherfuckers wanna kill yourselves. That’s your business. Just don’t do it on my porch.” And it really takes a lot to start workin’ again on stage… because then your mind ain’t there and your spirit… and you’re tryin’ to go for it. And greed is a bitch. Greed says, “Go ahead and do it. They offer you so much money… and you’re greedy.” And then your manager is larger than anything, right? He says. “But you’re not like that. You don’t want to rip people oft. You try and do the best… and you go out there and you make an ass of yourself… embarrass your friends. Hold your dick.” My greed does not exceed my self-respect. My greed is good. Though. Greed is runnin’ a close motherfuckin’ second. When I’m asleep. Greed is workin’ on the self-respect somewhere. “Say. Why don’t you just do it tor a little more?” But I do a lot of shit now that I never did when I didn’t have money. I didn’t have the problems I have now, like watchin’ motherfuckers count it. I must drive my accountant crazy. I wake up at 3:00 in the morning going, “Hey. Man, what the fuck? How much is it? Well. Prove it. Bring it over.” “But it’s three in the morning.” “Fuck that. I want to see it now.” And I got lawyers and shit. Lawyers are some expensive motherfuckers. And I got lawyers and shit. Lawyers are some expensive motherfuckers. I got a lawyer. First week. The motherfucker… brought me a bill for $40,000. I said, “Motherfucker. I just met you!” And lawyers, they don’t get upset. Right? “Goddamn it! Why is this…” “Don’t worry. Everything will be all right.” “No, but I wanna know why you…” “Take it easy.” And you leave there feelin’ like an asshole. You be goin’, “What the fuck am I yellin’ about? They calm. I’m just facing 47 years.” Them motherfuckers will keep you out of the penitentiary… and out of a lot of courts. But it’s gonna cost a lot! Some people must say. “Fuck it. I’ll go to the penitentiary. You motherfuckers cost too much. I can do ten years in the penitentiary and get off better… than these 30 you’re gonna put on me.” I met some lawyers, right? I had a guy I’m suing. A black attorney who was my brother. Right on. He was. It was beautiful. My brother. The motherfucker took me hook, line and sinker… on dry land. I don’t know. I just know that this is wonderful. Especially this suit… that I have on. I thought if I have a monkey, me and this suit will be hot. ‘Cause I can’t wear this kind of shit real comfortable. You have to be cool. Billy Dee Williams could hang in this motherfucker. Me, when I wear shit like this. I’m always afraid… that one motherfucker somewhere will say… “What you doin’ in that red suit. You ugly motherfucker?
“I don’t fuck around anymore, since I got married. I am married. I don’t fuck around. That’s right. When you are married… say you don’t fuck around it you got any brains. My wife: “What? Did you fuck…” “No, I was not fucking her. I don’t care what you think you saw. I was not fucking her. Now. Are you gonna believe me or your lying eyes? I was not fucking her.” And my wife… My wife has been putting up with me… We went together six years before the bitch landed me. She paid dues… ’cause I am no day at the beach. I know I’m hard to get along with. I know that… ’cause I might wake up in the morning and go… “Hey. Wake up. What was that shit you said last February?” This is my forth, fifth, sixth marriage. Eighth? I don’t know. But I remember every woman that I was ever in love with. I remember all 12 of them. I really do. They were wonderful. It’s just… I’ve never been able to have a… what they call sustain a relationship. That’s what it’s called now. In other words. When you stop wantin’ to be with the motherfucker, you leave. That’s what I do. Most people hang around till the shit get… makes you look ugly and shit… and you be hangin’ out with a bitch you don’t want to be with. “Yeah. This is my lady.” That gets you into feelings and shit. When you get married… you have to feel. My wife says, “Feel. Express your feelings. Darling, don’t lock it up. Just speak your mind.” When I was just fuckin’ around. I didn’t have to say shit but… “Can I fuck? Good-bye. Here’s the money for a cab.” But now, it’s different when you’re married. This is about the time I’ve been married… and it’s really exciting. Because I really am trying. I really am trying. I’m telling you, I’m fuckin’ trying, okay? But it’s hard to wake up and see the same person all the fuckin’ time. I know this works for women too. I mean, it’s the same motherfucker. All the time. “Thank you. Baby, but goddamn! Not today. Goddamn it. I don’t want to fuck you anymore for eight months. Let’s make our sexual life interesting. You go away for a year. When you come back, we will fuck like rabbits.” And my wife’s always talkin’ about “express yourself.” “Darling. Express your feelings. Emotions. Try to talk. Try to not be so physical. Learn how to speak. Try to talk. Now. Darling, what is the problem?” “Bitch, I’m gonna kill you.” My wife is white, and the first two years we went together… she thought her name was White Honky Bitch. She did. She put up with the shit. I learned, though. After that, ’cause I was death on her. “White honky bitch, and the black man this… and you don’t know shit.” But I stayed with the motherfucker. I kept staying. I grew some. It can happen. It it happened to me. It could happen to you. She’s wonderful about expressing yourself. I get mad, I can’t even talk. The madder I get, the quieter I get. My voice just goes down a notch, especially… “Well. All right. What I’m trying to do here…” Feelings are a hard fucking thing to deal with. I don’t give a fuck who you are. It’s not easy to be bullshittin’. But when you get them feelings. Somebody touches that shit inside you… that shit be fuckin’ with you. And women, I don’t give a fuck. You all can be so cool… about turnin’ a motherfucker oft. You love when a motherfucker be in love with you… ’cause you can be some nasty bitches. “Darling. Please don’t leave me. Just give me…” “Oh. God. Are you calling again? God, Richard, please. Just don’t do this to yourself. I mean, why don’t you go home and bathe or something like that. Just don’t call here anymore. Just a minute. John.” How can women be so cool, though. When you angry? “Don’t you tell me! I love you! Don’t you see?” “Yes, dear. I’m going for a walk.” “A walk? I wanna tight!” One night. I left the house about 137 times. I did. I just said, “Fuck you!” And then I’d have to come back. Like. You forget your keys. You ever leave and forget your keys? “Bitch! Yeah. Motherfucker! Yeah. Uh-huh! Believe that shit! Yeah. You’ll see. Oh, shit.” Then you got to go back in the house. Why come your old lady looks so good after you’ve been away tor a while? You ever. Like. Get your heart broke? Men here. You ever had your heart broke? Women get their heart broke, they cry. Men don’t do that shit. Men hold that shit in like it don’t hurt… walkin’ around and get hit by trucks. “Didn’t he see that truck?” “Motherfucker. He wouldn’t have seen a 747… ’cause his heart was broken.” There’s a feelin’… Gettin’ your motherfuckin’ heart broke… it’s like, I don’t know. Men cannot graduate till a woman breaks your fuckin’ heart. That is your diploma. It either kill you or make you fat. I’m talkin’ about that heartache where your motherfuckin’ heart be… hurtin’ and shit, and you be… You can’t even listen to music. Shit remind you. Like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” “That reminds me of my lady. God. She got a nose just like Rudolph.” And you go out with other women when you’re in love… You go out with other women. It don’t mean shit. Right? You go out with other women. And you hear their voices and go… “What is this bitch talkin’ about? Why don’t she just shut the fuck up? She ain’t sayin’ shit.” ‘Cause it’s hard to reestablish yourself with other people… once you’ve been with a partner tor a long time. Right? Especially if you get a good woman that you really be in love with. Usually. It’s the man that fucks up. We fuck up. Right? Then we can’t find them motherfuckers no more. And when you can’t find her no more, it look like she get better. Every time you see her. She be beautiful… or with some other motherfucker that looked good. I be going, “I wanna kill everybody. Everybody in the world.” That’s how you end up in the penitentiary, jack. A lot of people in the penitentiary killed their old ladies and shit… and boyfriends and shit like that. Just flip out. “I don’t give a fuck. At least I don’t have to look at them anymore.”
I went to a penitentiary with Gene Wilder… I went to a penitentiary with Gene Wilder… I did a movie. Not me personally. I went to do a film in a penitentiary. I was up there six weeks. Arizona State Penitentiary. It was some… Oh. You’re applauding for that? Arizona State Penitentiary real popular? It was strange because What’s strange about that is that there are no black people in Arizona. I’m not lying. They bus motherfuckers in. I was up there, and I looked at all the brothers… and it made my heart ache. You know… seeing all these beautiful black men in the joint. Goddamn warriors should be out there helping the masses. I felt that way. I was real naive. Right? And the six weeks I was up there, I talked to the brothers. I talked to them. And thank God we got penitentiaries. I asked this one. “Why did you kill everybody in the house?” The guy said, “They was home.” I mean. Murderers. Do you hear me? Real. Live murderers. I thought black people killed people by accident. No. These motherfuckers was murderers. I met one brother. His name was J-Bone. Motherfucker could lift weights. He was in charge. Muscles every-motherfuckin’-where. He was doing a sentence… triple life. How in the fuck do you do triple life? I mean. That mean if he die and come back… he got to go to the penitentiary. Right? They’ll say, “Fuck kindergarten. Get your little ass back in the penitentiary. Motherfucker. You know what you did last time you was here.” And Gene Wilder loved to jump in the middle of the killers… and start talkin’. “Hi. Guys. How you doin’?” I said. “Gene. Bring your ass out of there.” “What do you think they’d do to us if we were here. Rich?” I’d say. “Fuck us.” And Gene would say. “I’m not homosexual.” “Homosexual ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. They don’t fuck you ’cause you like it. They just fuck you just to see that look on your face.” I met one dude… kidnap, murder tour times. I thought three times. That was your ass. Right? No. I said. “What happened?” “I can’t get the shit right. But I’m gettin’ paroled in two years. Brother Rich. I’m gonna fire it up. I got some contacts outside. You know what I mean?” I said, “Yeah, I know what you mean.” See. I wanna know when this motherfucker gettin’ out… who he gonna be with. And it I see him in my neighborhood. I’m just gonna shoot the motherfucker. ‘Cause I do not want to be kidnapped. Take no chance no motherfucker callin’ up my wife… talkin’ about sendin’ some money. ‘Cause that’s really my ass. “Well. Don’t fuck up the suit. That’s what we gonna bury him in.” I’m gonna take my chances. ’cause… Damn if I’m gonna be kidnapped, puttin’ my hands behind my back. They always like to make you put your hands behind your back and shit… and then fuck with you a little while. I say, “No. Motherfucker. Blow my face oft with the shotgun… while I got my hands on your nuts.” So there’ll be some evidence. Right? The police come in: “Open his hand. Well, this guy’s gonna be easy to find. He’s gonna show up to the hospital sooner or later.” They always put that shotgun on you. You ain’t got to do shit. That’s easy to say. But in real life we all know… a shotgun. Your hand will automatically jump behind your back. Even it you don’t want it to. Your hand will say. “Fuck you! It’s a shotgun. Asshole! Give me that rope. I’ll tie myself. Is this a good knot?” Everybody like to be brave in the real situation. Right? But we ain’t so brave sometimes, you know? Sometimes you be brave. Most of the time. We just ordinary… hope we don’t get in no situation where you have to be brave. That’s how the Nazis fucked over people. ‘Cause most people are basically decent. Them Nazis just run over motherfuckers. Black people always say. “I’d have told them Nazis…” You wouldn’t have told them Nazis shit. ‘Cause them motherfuckers didn’t play. You’d be out there talkin’ about… “Hey. Motherfucker! Mr. Nazi!” “What is this?” “Oh, nothin’, just. Uh… Just fuckin’ around. Jack. Like them boots you got on. Hom.” And in the penitentiary. They got all them racist groups. They got the white groups. They act like they’re in New York. They got the Nazi party and the… What do they call it? The Klu Klux Klan. The Mexicans got them gangs you can’t pronounce the names. And they don’t wear no shirts. The black people got the Mau Maus and the Muslims, Double Muslims. Them’s the ones you don’t fuck with… them Double Muslims. ‘Cause them motherfuckers can’t wait to get to Allah… and want to take eight or nine motherfuckers with them. I used to be a thief, and I wasn’t very good. I always got caught. I would steal from neighbors. I wouldn’t take no chances on gettin’ caught too far from home. I’d go over to the neighbors’ house. Wipe them motherfuckers out. I paid them all back now. I try to go back to Peoria. I’m ashamed of myself. “Miss Johnson. I’m sorry I bust in your house.” “I knew it was you, boy.” I don’t know why I would steal. My grandfather was in business. My family was in business. My grandmother owned. Like, three or tour brothels. My grandfather had a pool hall called “Pops Pool Room.” My uncle had a pool room. So there was money in the family. I was a lucky black child… ’cause I never went through no hard times. It was hard. If you wasn’t poor. You couldn’t get no pussy. They say, “We fuck just to keep our minds off eatin’.” I live in Hawaii in a place… I wanted to go to a place where there was no people. And I found the place. There’s 500 people live where I live. And they’re brown. I like that because you can sleep at night. ‘Cause you live around white people in the country, anything can happen. Not that I don’t trust white people. It’s just in the night. You know what I mean? Something happens to white people when you start drinkin’… and when you hear one of them motherfuckers go. “Yee-haw!” You know what I mean? It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up… ’cause I know what’s next. That “yee-haw” means get a rope and get a black motherfucker. “Why do they have the greatest kind of resistance against a rope? You can lasso a white guy. He won’t do nothin’. Black one. They kinda jerk away.” I like those guys: “You wanna sign this tor my sister?” “Hey. Buddy, you wanna kiss my girl? But not on the lips.” I say, “Okay.” Racism is a bitch. White people, you gotta know. It fucks you up. But what it does to black people is a bitch. It’s hard enough being a human being. It’s really fuckin’ hard enough just to be that. Just to go through everyday life without murdering a motherfucker. It’s hard enough just to walk through life decent. As a person. But here is another element added to it when you’re black. Them mothers got that little edge on us. It’s enough to make you crazy. ‘Cause it you’re in an argument with another man… he may be white, but it’s man on man for a minute… – and the shit get rough. He end up calling you “nigger.” You go, “Oh. Shit. Fuck. Now I ain’t no man no more. I’m nigger now. I got to argue with that shit… and. fuck. Throw my balance all off now.” It’s an ugly thing. I hope that someday they give it up. ‘Cause it don’t work.
It’s nice to have pride about your shit. I went home to the motherland. Everybody should go home. To Africa. Everybody, especially black people. Really, man, there is so much to see there… tor the eye and the heart of the black people. White people. You’ll go there and you’ll get ideas. “Well. That’s the way black people in America should be… walking around with sticks.” You’ll get the wrong idea. But, man… I was gonna find my roots. Right? Seven hundred million black people. Not one of them motherfuckers knew me. I looked in every phone book in Africa. I didn’t find one goddamn Pryor. I saw one familiar name: J-Bone Walker. I called that up. They say he’s in Arizona. But there’s nothin’ like goin’ and seein’ nothin’ but black. Black people. From the wino to the president. It’s black people. And it’s. Like, fair. You know what I mean? You go someplace. You’re on liberated land. I said, “These motherfuckers kick ass and got their country. And I’m on the land. It’s black people.” I mean. Black. Original black. You understand “black”? I mean. So many black people, it made me realize… somebody in my family had been lying to me. It’s nice. As you land at the airport. You look out the window… and see the black people and say. “Oh. Wow!” People are the same. The people in Africa fuck over your luggage… just like the people in New York. You know what’s funny? To walk down the street… and see white people looking tor each other. They’d be surrounded, and… Every black person I saw there seemed to remind me of someone from here. I’d walk down the street and go, “That motherfucker looked like Joe Frazier!” I’d say, “Goddamn!” He’d be the president of the bank. I’d go, “Goddamn! I wish Joe Frazier could see this motherfucker!” Or someone here. Like, is a wino… you see him over there. They be a diplomat. You go, “Willie the wino! Goddamn! Get down, Willie!” This was. I don’t know. Special to me, man. I went to the jungle, the real jungle. Not that shit Tarzan live in. Tarzan wouldn’t last a week in Africa. “Where’s Tarzan?” “You mean the crazy white man? He in the trees with cheetah.” “Where’s Jane?” “She whoring in Nairobi.” ‘Cause when you go out in the bush… you see animals… I mean, animals that are tree look different… than that shit we see in the zoo. You know them animals you fuck over at the zoo? You see the lion at the zoo. You be talkin’ about… You walk by. “Hey. Lion.” I like the monkeys in the zoo. ‘Cause they throw their shit on you. They’d be pickin’ and shit. They watch you, and one of ’em go… And then everybody laughs. “Oh, he’s so cute. Oh, aren’t the monkeys cute?” Why do people think bears are happy in the zoo? “Look at the bear. He’s so happy.” Motherfucker’s talkin’ about… “Let me out. Just give me a break. If I could get a hand on one of you motherfuckers. Oh. I’ll tear your ass up. I ain’t had no pussy in 12 years! Send me a motherfuckin’ panda. Bitch ain’t even got a pussy. They’re wonderin’ why we ain’t got no babies” But in the jungle, if you see a rabbit you get nervous. ‘Cause a rabbit be lookin’ at you… “Roll the window up. Dear.” “It’s just a rabbit.” “Fuck you. Ain’t no rabbit ever looked at me like that.” And you see a lion in the jungle, that’s what they look like… lions. Motherfucker be in the bush talkin’ about… “Yeah. Get your ass out of the car. And bring that camera with you. ‘Cause we gonna eat all that shit.” I saw three lionesses chase down. Like, a cape buffalo. That’s the baddest motherfucker on four legs… except for these bitches chasin’ it. And the lionesses. They work around in teams. Give signals You know they can’t talk. And the buffalo saw one of them, right? He tipped away from the rest of the herd. And them two others jumped on his ass. The other buffalo said… “The motherfucker didn’t warn us. Fuck him.” And you know how a buzzard circles in the movies? These motherfuckers drove up in a truck. Talkin’ about. “What it is?” Cheetah, man, is the weirdest thing to see go chase something… ’cause you don’t see nothin’ but dust. I saw two cheetahs. It looked like they were talkin’… about jumpin’ on some gazelle. “You want to go after that herd?” “Say, nah. Man, they’re too close. Shit. Why don’t we give ’em another 100 yards. How’s the wife and family. Man? You know. It’s gonna be tourist season soon. I got an arm last year. They’re about far enough. You ready?” The gazelles and shit hear them motherfuckers. They’d be eating and hear ’em and just start runnin’. They wouldn’t even look. “Run!” And the motherfucker that can’t hear is in trouble. “What?” “Cheetah!” “Huh?” “Cheetah!” “What?” “Cheetah!” “What’d you say?” “It’s your ass!” “I got ya.” I saw one of them gazelles make a move on a cheetah. It was embarrassing. The cheetah got pissed off too… ’cause he was ready to get the gazelle. And the gazelle said… And that motherfucker tell 400 yards trying to stop. And got up: “I’m gonna get you. Motherfucker. Make me look bad” We picked up a hitchhiker one day. An African man got in the car. And he had that odor. You know? This motherfucker had odor! He was in the car. You be drivin’. That odor was… And he’d lean over to point… And you’d be, you know… “Goddamn! I know my people. But goddamn!” And I looked in the rear view mirror. And this motherfucker was goin’… “Oh, shit! That motherfuckin’ cologne and shit they got on. Stinkin’ motherfuckers. Boy. I don’t know how I can take this shit.” He had his head out the window tryin’ to get air and shit. He’s goin’. “Goddamn!” He just ended up makin’ us stop. “Let me out of this motherfucker. I’ll walk. Fuck it. You motherfuckers stink. Kiss my ass.” One thing I got out of it was magic. I’d like to share it with you. I was leavin’, and I was sittin’ in the hotel… and a voice said to me. “Look around. What do you see?” And I said. “I see all colors of people doing everything.” And the voice said, “Do you see any niggers?” And I said. “No.” And it say. “You know why? ‘Cause there aren’t any.” And it hit me like a shot, man. I started cryin’ and shit. I was sittin’ there and said… “Yeah. I’ve been here three weeks. I haven’t even said it. I haven’t even thought it.” And it made me say. “Oh. My God. I’ve been wrong. I’ve been wrong. I’ve got to regroup my shit.” I said, “I ain’t gonna never call another black man a nigger.” You know. ’cause we never was no niggers. That’s a word that’s used to describe our own wretchedness. And we perpetuate it now, ’cause it’s dead. That word’s dead. We’re men and women. We come from the first people on the Earth. You know? The first people on the Earth were black people. ‘Cause anthropologists… white anthropologists… The white people go. “That could be true, you know.” Yeah. Dr. Leakey and them found people remains… five million years ago in Africa. You know them motherfuckers didn’t speak French. So black people, we the first people that had thought. We were the first ones to say. “Where the fuck am I? And how do you get to Detroit?” So you can take it for what it’s worth. I ain’t tryin’ to preach. I’m just talkin’ about my feelings about it. And I don’t want them hip white people calling me no nigger… or telling me nigger jokes. I don’t like it. I’m just fellin’ you it’s uncomfortable to me. I don’t like it when black people say it to me. I really don’t no more. It’s nothin’. It don’t mean nothin’. So I love you all, and you can take that with you. I guess you all say…
I think the only brave thing I might have ever done in my life… was once I worked at a Mafia nightclub. Out in Youngstown. Ohio. I was 19. I was 19 years old. Right? And I didn’t know shit about the Mafia. My father was the baddest motherfucker I had ever seen. So the Mafia didn’t mean shit to me. I did not relate to the Mafia. I worked with this lady. Satin Doll. She was the star of the show. Beautiful black stripper. Right? ‘Cause usually in those days… in clubs they had a singer and a stripper and a M.C. I was the M.C., and she was the first black star I ever met. Duke Ellington had written a tune about her. That’s what she used to dance to and act. She was beautiful. She was 60 then. Oh. This bitch was fine though. Man. I’m not lyin’. Lena Horne didn’t have shit on her. And she was cryin’ backstage… “I gotta get to Buffalo. They won’t pay me.” I said, “Who won’t pay you?” “Club owners.” I said. “Oh, them motherfuckers are gonna pay me. Bet that.” This is how ignorant I was. I had a cap pistol. You know. Them blank starter pistols. I busted into the office with this motherfucker. Talkin’ about… “All right. Give me the money. Motherfucker!” Doing my best black shit. You know. You know. That shit usually scare whitey to death. And these motherfuckers didn’t do nothin’. I’m sure that those men… are sitting in that room today. Laughing. ‘Cause that’s what this dude… He just started to laugh. “This fuckin’ kid. Wait a minute. Hey. Tony. Come here. Rich. Do the gun again. Hey. Tony. Come here. Stickup! This fuckin’ kid! Come here. Come here, you fuckin’ kid. He’s got a pair of gagoozies on him, huh? Fuckin’ kid. Come here. Goddamn.” They like to hug you and rub you. “Come here.” And grab your face. “This fuckin’ kid’s got some gazoolas.” And they always say shit you don’t understand. “Hey. You wanna go… Hey. Paulo. Tix him a little… Put some struzi on it. Fry it up. They like fried foods. Fuckin’ kid, huh? He come in here. Had a gun, the fuckin’ kid. Huh? Pay everybody oft. Pay ’em off. It’s all right.” They paid everybody off, let everybody go and kept me. Like a pet. “I fuckin’ like this kid. You got family? Well. You got family now. Who is it, Carmine? Tell him I call him back. Tell him it’s a stickup.” Then these motherfuckers start tellin’ murder stories. “Hey. You remember when Oozie… Remember when I made my fuckin’ bones? Me, I had to go away. It was Cleveland, right? Fuckin’ teamster. Big mouth. Hurt a lot of people. Right? You know, ice pick’s my thing, Rich. So we fuckin’ had to drive down. Me, Johnny Salami… the Gaboozo brothers. They own a funeral parlor. ‘You carry. We bury.’ Come here, you fuckin’ kid. So we take this jerk-off out bowling, you know. Drive him around. Get him a few drinks. ‘Hey, let’s get some broads. Right? ‘ A little motel we had set up. You remember that, Johnny? So. We take him around. He gets kinda stoned. Drops his glass. I say, ‘Now.’ I pop him with the fuckin’ ice pick. Right? I’m poppin’ this cocksucker. Blood’s squirting every which way. He says, ‘Oh. God! Don’t kill me! ‘ ‘Oh. fuck you. You guinea cocksucker.’ And the fuckin’ ice pick breaks. I’m standin’ there with a fuckin’ piece of wood in my hand! I said, ‘Johnny Salami. What do I do? ‘ Johnny says, ‘Wait till it melts, asshole.’ Those were the good old days. What’s the matter. Rich? You don’t look so good. Hey, Paulo, give him a little… You got a way home. Or do you want us to give you a ride?” Don’t go out with the Mafia. ‘Cause you can’t buy ’em dinner. They always like to take entertainers to dinner. They take you to dinner, and they pick up the check all the time. And it you get mad, you say, “Let me buy the check tonight. Goddamn it. You guys buy me dinner every night.” “Hey, kid, let me tell you somethin’. We’re crime… and crime don’t pay.” The Mafia people are weird people, ’cause they appeal… They appeal to your intellect. They do. Them motherfuckers’ appeal says… “You’re an intelligent person. Aren’t you? And you realize that it’s very difficult… to walk without knees.” And one time I was in a room with one of these motherfuckers… and I don’t know how to describe… You ever seen a face just turn to stone? I mean. I was talkin’ to the man. And somebody was over here… talkin’ about something that had pissed him off… that he was gonna deal with… and it went from a nice conversation with me… A stone thing came over his face. It was like… And a chill went through my fuckin’ body. I said. “This motherfucker’s dead. I’m lookin’ at a dead man that walks around.” ‘Cause it was just stone, man. There wasn’t no compromise. There was nothin’ in there where you could go… There was none of that in the face. I said… “Boy, that’s a look I’d like to get, just to whip on a motherfucker.” You know. Just say. “What?” Remember that in The Godfather? That to me was the most chilling line in the world. When the guy said… “Hey. Could you let me off? Just tor old time’s sake?” And the guy said… Boy. That had to be the coldest shit in the world. And you gotta get in the car with him. Then you got to beg some more in the car. You ain’t gonna stop beggin’. As long as he’s got breath in his body. You get in the car. He’s talkin’ about, “Hey. Jack. I remember when I showed you how to drive.” Jack be goin’…
All Italian people are not in the Mafia. Whether you believe it or not. They’re not. Really. Most of them work for the Mafia. But they’re all not in the Mafia. What? – Do what? – Mudbone, Richie! All right, this is the last time Mudbone will be seen anywhere. This is Mudbone’s last show. Ladies and gentlemen, from Tupelo. Mississippi. Mudbone. You know… Now, I know that boy. See. He fucked up. See. That tire got on his ass… and it fucked him up upstairs. Fried up what little brains he had. ‘Cause I remember the motherfucker. He could make a motherfucker laugh… at a funeral on Sunday. Christmas day. But you know what happened? He got some money. That’s what happened. He got some money! Them missed meal cramps and shit was gone. He said. “Fuck it.” Went all the way crazy. Shit, now me? I’m still hungry. See. I’m gonna be out here four days and six months. I watched this boy, Rich. He used to come by. Leave me a dollar here. Fifty cents there. He was all right, you know. He would never lend me five. Though. But he let me have them two’s and tews. You know. So I felt tor the boy. I went over there and talked to him. And he ignorant. ’cause I sit down to talk to him… You don’t let him get none of that powder in his nose. That’s like tryin’ to talk to a baboon’s ass. I talked to the boy seven days and seven nights. He was still on the same subject. “Where can I get some more?” So I talked to him. You know. I said… “Boy, why don’t you do something with yourself? Since religion ain’t your thing… maybe you take up ballet.” It makes me laugh, thinkin’ about it. I told him, “Cause you gonna be black a long time. So you might as well enjoy yourself… ’cause there ain’t many black motherfuckers out there doin’ it.” He said, “Don’t stop now.” I said. “Don’t lighten up. Tighten up.” That’s what I told him. And he must have listened to me. He was gonna register to vote. I knew he was sick then. So. Listen. I’m not gonna steal the show from the boy. I ain’t gonna do that. So, I’m gonna… The boy got the camera. Only white folks can do that. And they make it look like such a mystery. They never let no black people do no shit like that. The only time you see black people doing some of that shit… is when they want the plug plugged in. “Say, boy. Plug that in.” That’s how you be sayin’. “I works on the camera crew.” I say. “What you do?” “Plug in the thing.” I say. “A monkey can do that.” Guess that’s why they hired him. See, I’ve lived through hard times before. People talk about these as hard times. Hard times was way back. They didn’t even have a year for it. Just called it “Hard Times.” It was dark all the time. I think the sun came out on Wednesday. And it you didn’t have your ass up early. You missed it. So I happened to be out there one Wednesday… and the sun hit me right in the face. I grabbed a bunch of it and rubbed it all over myself. Shit. I didn’t have nothin’ else. Might as well have some sun on my face. And as time went on. I remembered it was Thursday. I said. “Damn. That sun was a bitch. That’s why they didn’t want us to have none of it.” ‘Cause it’d cheer you up inside. You see. So I got all cheered up… and went out on a date. Lucinda Belle Mae. The girl was pretty. Coal black. Her skin was tender… like a baby’s butt. Her sweet breasts smelled like Carnation milk. That’s how tender she was. I liked her, too, you see. She had a little liking to me. So Lucinda… We’d have to tip away. We’d go up and do a little kissin’ up in the apple orchard. We’d tip away together on Wednesday mornin’… when the sun was up. We’d get up there. I’d make her put a little on her face… and she relaxed. When she relaxed. I started rubbin’ all over her. Women like when you rub on ’em… if you rub ’em in them right spots. You know. You got to rub ’em right there. Right on the inside of her leg by the kneecap. Rub ’em right there. And you rub it around until it starts burnin’. They open up then. Boy. ‘Cause there ain’t but two pieces of pussy you’re gonna get in your life. That’s your first and your last. And all that shit in between don’t count. That’s just the extra gravy. They say. “When’s the last time you got some pussy?” I say. “Yesterday. That’s as tar as I want to remember it.” I don’t want to sit around. Some motherfucker ask me… “How long you had some pussy?” I go… I don’t want to live that long. What I’m sayin’… What the point I’m tryin’ to make is… that there is no point to be made. That’s all that there is. There ain’t no point to it. ‘Cause you didn’t ask to come to this motherfucker… and you sure can’t choose how to leave. ‘Cause you don’t know when you’re gonna go. So don’t take this shit serious You better have some tun and plenty of it. ‘Cause when the shit old and you ask for a recharge, it’s too late. So all I can say is keep some sunshine on your face.
I was up in Oakland with some old friends. I mean, motherfuckers I’ve known a long time. And I have changed as a person inside, right? There was an old dope dealer. Motherfucker used to… I used to follow him around for dope. And I always paid him. But it was always on credit or something… and the motherfucker acted like I was one of his pets. I started saying, “Wait, motherfucker. I paid tor the dope. I didn’t live at your house. I had my own apartment.” But he was acting like I was one of his bitches… and then. You know. He got real mad… ’cause I fired on his ass. I say, “No. Motherfucker, I wasn’t never like that.” I had my shirt oft and I was sitting on the couch… and suddenly he says something about… When you signify. Motherfucker gets vicious. “What about them burned-up rings around your neck, motherfucker?” And it hit me ’cause I had never thought of myself like that… ’cause I said. “Yeah, I’ve been burnt up.” It never had hit me like it hit him. I said, “Yeah, I been burnt the fuck up.” ‘Cause most people I meet. I act like I ain’t burned up… they do too. The motherfucker sneaks a peek. “A nice tattoo you have… all over your body.” I guess y’all say. “Fuck all that. How’d you burn up?” You say. “How’d you burn up in your own house. Motherfucker?” I know y’all heard all kind of stories about how I burned up basin’ this… and ether that. None of that shit got nothing to do with that. I’m gonna tell y’all the truth tonight. You got to promise not to tell nobody. – Can I trust ya? – Yeah! You’re some lyin’ motherfuckers. All my friends know this to be true ’cause everybody knows me. Usually before I go to bed. I have milk and cookies. And one night. I had some low-tat milk… and some pasteurized… and I mixed them together… and I dipped my cookie, and the shit blew up. I mean, the damnedest thing I’ve ever heard of in my life. Medical history was made. A lot of people say shit. I think about shit. Why do people think… All the people you ever heard of freebasin’… have you ever heard of anybody blowin’ up? Why me? Ten million motherfuckers freebase, I gotta blow up. I’m talking about… I started out smoking freebase. It was like… I started out one time. And I should’ve known something bad was going to happen… because I remember the first time I did freebase… I burnt my bed up. I was sitting on the bed, and somebody said… “Richard, the bed’s on tire!” I said. “What? The bed’s on fire?” It’s a weird disease. If any of you doin’ it… you ain’t gonna believe this, but if you’ve been doing it… longer than two weeks. You’re a junkie. Now I’m telling you so you’ll know it. I know you’ll tell yourself, “I ain’t no fuckin’ junkie.” You cannot stop if you wanted to. You’ll go home tonight and say. “Watch me.” You will not be able to. If you got the shit there, you will do it. I’m talking about, I started out smokin’… I would have a pipe and sit it down and walk eight feet away from it. Two days later. Jack. I would smoke. I’d go… One time. It looked like I had an appendage on my hand. It was the pipe. ‘Cause this pipe used to tell me when to go to bed. The pipe would say, “Time to get up. Time for some smoke. Rich. We’re not doing anything today. Fuck all your appointments. Me and you are just gonna hang out in this room together.” I’d get mad and frustrated. People didn’t understand me. The pipe’d say. “Come in the room with me. I got you covered. I know how you feel. Rich. Light me up. Hold me tor a couple of days. And we’ll talk it over.” I’m talking about a year later, jack. I’m talking about… I’m drawn up. fucked up and out of my mind… but I’m not hooked. People are trying to help me. I say… “You’re just meddling in my motherfucking business! You just think because I’m having a good… Leave me the fuck alone!” And I’m smokin’ my shit… ’cause my pipe would say, “I understand. They don’t know. It’s your life. They don’t have a right to fuck with you. Where were they when you needed them? Come in here with me. ’cause I love ya.” And then the pipe starts saying shit like… “You let me get a little low yesterday. I don’t like that. Don’t let me get low again. Or I’m gonna hurt ya. You promise, keep me full at all times. Okay? Come on, Rich. You can do it. ‘Cause I understand.” And finally. Dope dealers… I did it so bad, dope dealers tried not to sell me none. That’s doing it, for a dope dealer to say… “I ain’t gonna give you no more. I can’t see you do it to yourself.” Dope dealers don’t give a fuck about nothing usually. These motherfuckers refused to sell me cocaine. Said. “No. Motherfucker! You’re killing yourself!” What? “I don’t want to see you fuck yourself up.” I ain’t never heard of dope dealers doin’ that. I mean. You could sooner get free food in a Chinese restaurant. But these motherfuckers love me. Man. They say. “No, man. Can’t you just snort again?” And I’d lie and say, “Okay. I’m gonna snort. Just give me enough tor the weekend. I’m gonna snort it.” “How much you want?” “A kilo.” I don’t know I’m a junkie. I weigh about 103. I looked like… Ain’t been out of my room in eight weeks. Funk is my shadow. Funk be just hanging all over me, talkin’ about… “Hey. Don’t wash.” Then finally. My old lady called Jim Brown up. – She said. “Jim gonna come over.” – “Fuck Jim Brown! I’ll show Jim Brown. I don’t give a fuck. Nobody afraid of Jim Brown here.” Jim was coming in the driveway. I got all nervous. “Who is it?” “Jim Brown.” “Oh. Shit! This motherfucker ain’t gonna scare me. Let me get my pipe.” Pipe said. “Come on. Me and you will show Jim. Don’t worry. Shit, Jim don’t scare nobody.” Jim come in the room. I started smokin’. “How’re you doin’. Bro?” Jim had psychology. Jim’d go… “You wanna go roller-skatin’?” “Pipe.” “Maybe you wanna go tor a ride.” Jim say. “What you gonna do?” “What do you mean?” “What you gonna do about that shit?” “What? I’m doin’ what I wanna do.” “I ain’t afraid of you, you know. You ain’t no movie star to me. I ain’t scared of you. Motherfucker. I’m your friend. What you gonna do? You gonna get well, or you gonna end our friendship? What you gonna do?” The pipe said. “Don’t listen. He tryin’ to fuck with you, Rich.” “Jim, I am a man.” “There ain’t no doubt about that… but what you gonna do?” And Jim kept saying that all through the hall. “What you gonna do?” “Leave me the fuck alone! That’s what I’m going to do… I’m getting the fuck away from you… so I don’t have to hear ‘What you gonna do? ‘ ‘Cause I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do. Leave me the fuck alone!” So Jim almost got me to the hospital… but he had to go somewhere. Like to home to eat. And I was in the room with the pipe. And the pipe said… “Hey. Rich… Jim’s gone.” And it don’t matter how many times you break them motherfuckers… you go out and buy a new one. This is an addiction. It’s a monster. It’s pitiful. ‘Cause I ended up on the floor looking for shit. “Well, let me smoke this.” It’d be a piece of log. Anything. I’d say, “I wonder how my sleeve would taste.” I’ll tell you one thing. Man. When that tire hits your ass… that will sober your ass up quick. I mean. I was standing there on fire. And something said… “Why. That’s a pretty blue. You know what? That looks like fire!” I’m talking about, tire is inspirational. They should use it in the Olympics… ’cause I did the 100-yard dash in 4.3.
You know something I found out? When you’re on fire and running down the street… people will get out of your way. Except for one old drunk. He’s going. “Can I get a light? How about it? Just a little oft the sleeve. Okay?” You can tell you fucked up when you get to the hospital and the doctor go… “Holy shit! Why don’t we get some cole slaw and serve this up?” I was laying in the hospital with tubes and shit up my nose… an I.V. In my arm… and a brother come in wanting an autograph. I mean. Steam and shit was still comin’ off me. Brother come in. “Hey, Rich. Hey. Hom. Can I get this autograph? Come on. Let me have this last autograph.” And Jim was in the hospital every day when I was getting well. He’d be there every day. Fire don’t mean shit to Jim. Fire jumped on Jim once. He said, “Hey!” Jim would be there giving me strength. I say. “Jim ain’t never been hurt. So I can’t show no pain. I gotta show my strength. Try to get well.” I was doing real well. ‘Cause nature is wonderful. When you burn up. Your skin goes to sleep… ’cause nature says, “I can’t deal with it”… and just goes to sleep. You don’t feel shit for about three days, till your nerves wake up. I didn’t know that. I figured. “I ain’t feelin’ nothin’. Everything’s fine.” And at the hospital, doctors and shit, they’re really great. But there was a brother who worked as a nurse… They’re unique people work with burnt people… ’cause I don’t know it I could work with no motherfucker burnt up. You know what I mean? Put some butter on him and say. “That’s it.” Go for what you know. Homes. But these motherfuckers… This Larry Murphy used to come in. “We’re gonna wash you down. And you’re gonna feel great. We’re gonna wash ya.” He kept saying it. “We’re gonna put you in the tub and wash you.” “You’re gonna wash me. When are you gonna wash me?” “We’re gonna wash you in a couple of days. We’re gonna get you better.” “Yeah, motherfucker. Yeah. Wash me, will you please?” I should’ve known something was wrong… ’cause this motherfucker come every day with this. “Don’t worry. We’re gonna put you in the tub… and it’s gonna be all right.” I said, “I’m not worried. Motherfucker. Put my ass in the tub. You know. Wash me. Shit.” “Come on. Don’t worry.” Third day. “Are you all right? Today we’re gonna put you in…” “Yeah. Larry. You’re gonna wash my ass in the tub. Okay? Goddamn.” Then they take you in the room and get you in the tub… with solutions. And you sit in the tub and say… “Yeah. Motherfucker. Tub. Right. Gonna wash. I know.” – They say, “Feel this? It’s a sponge.” – I say. “It’s a sponge, motherfucker. So? Wash my ass.” “All right. Put your arms up. ’cause…” “Wash me, motherfucker.” “Now it’s time to wash you. Ready?” I said. “Yeah.” Motherfucker said… “Don’t. Don’t wash me no more. Not even my little finger. No! No, you will not. Don’t you wash a motherfuckin’ thing. I don’t want you to touch my finger. I don’t want you to do a goddamn thing to me. Don’t wash me no motherfuckin’ more. And if you do, I’ll bite you. You motherfucker. Don’t you wash me anymore. I don’t care if I die. Don’t you wash me no more.” But they were wonderful. Man. Pain sure stops racism quick. Wasn’t no color in there except burnt-up motherfuckers. And we all got religious. You find God quick when they find your ass dead. I was watching TV one night, and they said I had died. I was bandaged up, and they said… “Richard Pryor died five minutes ago.” But I thank God every day. Jack. I do. I say, “God. Thank you for not burning my dick.” ‘Cause most people said. “You’ve been punished by God.” I say, “No. If God wanted to punish my ass… He’d have burnt my dick.” Now. That’s some punishment… ’cause when that tire hit my ass. My dick went to work. He said, “Emergency! Piss. Come! Do something! Keep the fire off the balls!” And my chest was hollering. “Help!” The dick said… “Fuck you! Go tor yourself! I’m protecting the balls! Spit!” You got a light? A match? Can I have a match? Thank you. Don’t do it! Watch out. Listen. Y’all… have been wonderful to come and share this with us… and I thank everyone connected with… It’s been a pleasure tor me to do this and get up here… and I thank you very much. I want to say y’all gave me a lot of love when I was not feeling well… and I appreciate it. Also, y’all did some… Yeah. Applaud yourself. Also. Y’all did some nasty-ass jokes on my ass too. Yeah. Y’all didn’t think I saw some of these motherfuckers. Since you love me so much. I remember this one. What’s that? Richard Pryor running down the street.